What Is With All The Hype Around Lille Sensation Leny Yoro?
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What Is With All The Hype Around Lille Sensation Leny Yoro?

22/06/24 13:44

For Liverpool, Barcelona, Man United and Real Madrid to all be linked with an 18 year old, they must be a pretty hot prospect!

Lille’s defensive record last year was solid, with them having the 4th best defence (5 more goals conceded than Nice, and 1 more than PSG), but what makes Yoro so special?

Leny was a key component of the defence amassing over 3500 minutes across all competitions for Les Dogues. His stats showcase a very reliable defender with a superb passing range but also a lot of composure.

He prefers to stand off the attacker, providing cover, rather than rushing out to engage. One of his best attributes is his positional awareness and ability to read the game, more of the style of Virgil Van Dijk than Cristian Romero.

All of the teams linked to the teenage prodigy will look to dominate the ball, and as such oppositions main threats will come from the counter-attack. In these situations, Yoro and his Defensive Partner along with likely one of the full backs will be providing cover and so it is vital his positioning is key – this has been proven in his time at Lille where he acted as the main barrier to stopping opposing counter-attacks.

Yoro is able to cover, slow down the attacker to allow his full-backs time to get back and has shown his ability to protect and delay.

He is surprisingly quick again in the style of Van Dijk and his body is constantly adapting as he gets older and spends more time in the gym. Yoro has the perfect combination of athleticism and technical ability.

To be voted into the Team of the Season shows how highly thought of he is and Lille will be desperate to keep him, but they must know that like Eden Hazard, he is destined for a move. It is twice now that I have compared Yoro to the Liverpool Captain, and that is as high a compliment as I can give to the French teenager.

One area that Yoro could improve upon is his passing ability. Whilst many may look at his pass accuracy (94.2%) and number of passes (2nd most for Lille), many of these were classified as safe, and were not progressive. They were often short, sideways to his defensive partner and it is yet to see if he has the ability to break lines and expose gaps in the opposition’s block.

Luckily he has age on his side and no doubt moving to a team who will demand this of their Centre-backs can only be a good thing for him.

With this in mind, it is no surprise to see Manchester United linked to the 18 year old. Opposites attract well, and with Lisandro Martinez, Manchester United have someone who loves to engage, and get stuck in. Yoro would complement his style and would be able to cover any slips from Martinez.

Leny is also 6’3” and wins a huge number of aerial duels – In 2023/24, Yoro had the best aerial-duel success rate (67.86 per cent) at Lille, and the fifth-best in Ligue 1.

There is a good chance that Yoro is going to follow in the same direction as William Saliba and Wesley Fofana who both had breakthrough seasons in Ligue 1 before jetting off to the Premier League.

Will Yoro be loaned out, in a similar fashion to Saliba, for him to gain more experience and perhaps become accustomed to the Premier League before becoming a household name the following season when he would still only be 20!

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Andrew Boughton

Football Writer

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